Gay Marriage

The Positive Contributions Of The Barack Obama Presidency

So here we are on the last full day of the Barack Obama Presidency, which I have been writing about since August 2008, and just about daily since 2010.

Barack Obama has been an historic President, and will end up in the top ten of our 44 Presidents over time, if not immediately.

Barack Obama was the most pilloried President since Richard Nixon, but for no good reason, and a lot of it was based on pure racism, sorry to say, but the truth.

But Obama brought us a dignified, classy persona to the White House, as did his wife Michelle.

He gave us the biggest expansion of our health care system, and much of it will survive the Donald Trump and Republican onslaught in the end.

He gave us the concept of limited military involvement, after decades of too many interventions overseas, and ended our involvement in Iraq, and cut back dramatically on the unwinnable war in Afghanistan.

He gave us the possibility of ending the threat of Iran as a nuclear power, and opened up a new relationship with Cuba, after 55 years of ignoring reality.

He accomplished through the use of technology and drones the elimination of thousands of terrorists worldwide, and took the gamble to bring justice to Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

He started moving the focus of American foreign policy to Asia and the Pacific, and kept good relations with America’s NATO allies, and kept Russia’s Vladimir Putin on edge. about how America would react toward his aggressive stands.

He made climate change worldwide a crucial focus, and participated in international agreements, and accepted science over conspiracy theories, and made us realize global warming was a danger to American national security.

He took an economy that was the worst since the Great Depression, what is called the Great Recession, and turned it around, with the greatest job growth over eight years in American history, the greatest stock market growth, and the greatest drop in the unemployment rate that has occurred in any administration.

He accomplished in health care what Presidents since Theodore Roosevelt to Franklin D. Roosevelt to Harry Truman to John F. Kennedy to Lyndon B. Johnson to Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton to George W. Bush had been unable to do.

He brought about the revival of the American auto industry, and advanced the rights of workers to overtime pay and increased minimum wage, and the rights of consumers through the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

He advanced women’s rights, including to equal pay, and gave DREAM kids a reprieve from possible deportation, and promoted the idea of universal pre school and community college education, and worked to try to deal with the student loan crisis.

He advocated fair treatment of Muslims in America, and became the champion of gay equality in the military, gay rights in society, and gay marriage and transgender rights.

He became a great advocate of the environment, adding to our national parks and national forests and endangered sites, and continued the tradition of earlier exceptional environmental Presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton before him.

He utilized executive orders to expand the rights of the American people, and worked for legal and judicial reform, and appointed Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

He cared about the weak, the powerless, and the forgotten groups in American society, and set a good moral basis in his own life and that of his family, becoming a model for young people as to how a President should conduct himself.

He avoided lashing out at those who promoted bigotry, and also showed emotion after his failed attempts at immigration reform and gun safety legislation. He had real tears, emotions, and sincerity in the Oval Office, which has hardly ever seen that, and hard to think of any earlier President quite like Obama.

He also faced the greatest number of threats of any President since Abraham Lincoln, as delineated in my Assassinations book, and demonstrated great courage and equanimity in waking up every day, knowing he was a target for hate mongers who wished him and his family ill will.

And finally, he had two terms of office without any hint of a personal, or otherwise, major scandal!

So Barack Obama was a FINE MAN, a different spelling of this author’s and blogger’s last name, and he will rise in the Presidential rankings to the top ten, and likely higher in the middle of the top ten at some point in the future, as he was truly a transformational President!

Goodbye, President and Mrs Obama, we will miss you, and wish you many decades of good health, prosperity, and happiness, as you continue to contribute to American betterment! God bless you both!

The Positive Contributions Of The Joe Biden Vice Presidency

Joe Biden, the 47th Vice President of the United States, is leaving public life after 44 years in the federal government, 36 as a US Senator from Delaware, and 8 years as Vice President.

Joe Biden is a true national treasure, who if not for the death of his son, Beau Biden, in May 2015, might have run for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016, and might very well have defeated Hillary Clinton, and then won the election in the crucial states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.

Although Biden will be 78 in 2020, he has the energy, the knowledge, the experience needed to defeat Donald Trump, and he just might return to the Senate in 2018, if Tom Carper follows through on his plans to retire.

So it is not yet time to say Biden’s career is over, although in elective office, it might be, but he will play a public role because it is in his blood to do so, and he will not stay silent when he sees wrongs being done by the Donald Trump Administration.

The alliance of Barack Obama and Joe Biden was the closest one in American history, possibly matched by Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, who in two days will have both survived the amazing total of 36 years since the Presidency and 40 years since their election in 1976!

Obama utilized Biden’s connections on Capitol Hill; and gave Biden an office in the White House, as Carter had done for Mondale; and had weekly lunches with Biden as Carter did with Mondale.

Joe Biden was a true Presidential Advisor, full time participant, and trouble shooter, and was not afraid to disagree with Obama, particularly on foreign policy, his expertise, but was always a loyal part of the team once a decision had been made by the President.

Biden’s warm, sincere personality was lovable, and he was able to work across the aisle on Capitol Hill with Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Paul Ryan, and other influential Republicans, and the entire Senate honored him recently for his cordial and effective role in the Senate.

Biden took the lead on gay rights and gay marriage; protection of women against violence; immigration reform; environmental advancements; gun control legislation after the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre; and the War on Cancer after his son died of that horrendous disease. Foreign leaders also, totally, respected him.

Joe Biden could be regarded as the greatest Vice President in American history, and his lifelong contributions will mark him in history as a very special political leader!

Thank you for your service to the nation and to Barack Obama, Vice President Biden!

Evan McMullin, Independent Presidential Nominee, Could Win Utah’s 6 Electoral Votes

In the midst of all of the attention paid to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein, there is actually another Presidential candidate on the ballot in eleven states, Evan McMullin, running as a conservative alternative.

McMullin is a possible winner in Utah, with its 6 electoral votes, with his Mormon heritage, and his record as Chief Policy Director for the House Republican Conference, and as a CIA Operations Officer, all by the age of 40, easily the youngest Presidential candidate in a year where three are “elderly” and Gary Johnson is 63.

In a recent poll, McMullin had 20 percent, only a few points behind Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and with Gary Johnson having 14 percent, so there is a real four way race in Utah, the only state that we see that situation.

McMullin is pro life on abortion matters; accepts gay marriage; is pro free trade; against mass deportation of undocumented immigrants; and supports the basics of ObamaCare, but wants to make a better system. He is critical of Donald Trump on counter terrorism measures, as he has years of experience in that area of policy making.

He could “mess up” the Electoral College, and could become the first non major party candidate to win a state’s electoral votes since George Wallace in 1968.

It is highly unlikely that if he won the state of Utah with its 6 electoral votes, that he would be the decisive factor in who wins 270 electoral votes, but in theory, he could prevent any candidate from winning the required number of electoral votes, and require the 12th Amendment to the Constitution, which has not been used since 1824, to be dusted off once again after 192 years!

If such a scenario developed, there is a slight chance that McMullin could become President, but do not bet on it by any means!

Mike Pence Another Horrible Republican VP Pick, Following Spiro Agnew, Dan Quayle, And Sarah Palin

The Republican Party has had a horrible history regarding Vice Presidential running mates, and twice, the nation was saddled with the choices as Vice President, making us pray for the health of the sitting President.

First, Richard Nixon selected Spiro Agnew, Governor of Maryland, who turned out to be the most worrisome VP of the 20th century, a true demagogue going after the news media and liberal critics with a vengeance,and turning out to be involved in illegal money laundering and bribery, forcing him to resign in October 1973, but saving us from an Agnew Presidency, and instead giving us Gerald Ford as the next President when Richard Nixon resigned.

Then, George H. W. Bush selected Dan Quayle, Senator of Indiana, who turned out to be a not very bright and informed Vice President, and when Bush had an atrial fibrillation, we had to worry that “Danny Boy” might succeed him. Quayle proved to be lacking in intelligence or brains.

Finally, we had John McCain select Alaska Governor Sarah Palin,who was a total nightmare and still haunts us eight years later as a true pest, who has no brains and no character at all, and yet has millions of clueless people who love this new “reality star”.

Now we have Donald Trump selecting Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who was a major supporter of the rise of the Tea Party Movement; promoted an anti gay accommodations bill, which he had to backtrack on over protests from corporations who withdrew plans for expansion in the Hoosier state; has stated his lack of belief in evolution or climate change; has come across as a Christian right wing extremist of the worst order including opposition to a women’s right to choose on abortion and refusal to accept gay rights and gay marriage; has said tobacco is not a health risk; and this is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

The Republican Party has added to its history of having horrible, scary Vice Presidential nominees, and this is just another reason to fight against Donald Trump in this year’s election.

Would Mike Pence Help Donald Trump And Be An Asset? NO!

Mike Pence is said to be Donald Trump’s choice for Vice President.

The Indiana Governor brings his comparative youth at age 57 compared to Trump who is 70.

He brings 12 years of Congressional experience and leadership of the Republican Conference for two years, as well as four years as Governor of a potential “Swing” State, which went to Barack Obama in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.

He is a less dynamic person, not the type to seek controversy, and very different in that sense than Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich.

But his hard line social conservative views, which make him popular with the Christian Right, is not going to help Donald Trump win the Presidency.

Pence allowed the passage and signing of a bill that discriminated against gays and lesbians in public accommodations, and then had to ask for a revision of it, when corporations decided to oppose it and moved to stop expansion into the state, a blow to the Indiana economy. In backing off a bit, he alienated the most extreme social conservatives, who are anti abortion, anti gay rights and anti gay marriage, deny climate change, and work against women being equal in a family unit to their husbands.

We are not going back to the 1950s, or to a white supremacist America, where minorities have little input or concern, and where whites claim they are being discriminated against.

This election will be the 1950s white dominated America pre civil rights, pre woman;s rights, pre gay rights, pre environmental movement, pre immigration reform America against 21st century America with all of the advancements in human rights and science that have occurred in the past half century!

War On Gay And Lesbian America In Full Swing By Religious Fanatics And Republicans!

The shocking murder of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, along with 53 others wounded, many of them in serious condition, is a sign of the war on gays and lesbians raging in America by religious fanatics and Republicans!

The perpetrator was a Muslim fanatic, a person devoted to ISIS, but it is not just Islamic terrorism that is guilty of this crime.

It is religious fanaticism of all religions, which refuses to treat gays and lesbians as human beings with basic human rights, as much as straight Americans.

It is white Americans, black Americans, Hispanic Americans who use their religious fanaticism to hate gays and lesbians, with many people repudiating their own children and other family members.

It is evangelical Christian extremists, Catholic extremists, Jewish extremists, Hindu extremists, Mormon extremists–extremists of all religions—who promulgate hatred and prejudice and discrimination.

It is ministers who promote hate, and priests who promote hate from their pulpits.

It is Republicans who refuse to accept gay rights and gay marriage, and refuse to mention that this terrorist event involved gays and lesbians, as if the people killed do not matter.

It is Donald Trump refusing to acknowledge until just now that gays and lesbians were killed, only bragging that he was “right” that this was another example of radical Islamic terrorism, and calling on Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to resign for refusing to use that term. It took Trump two days until now finally to show concern that it was gays and lesbians who were the victims.

Donald Trump should resign from the race if he refuses to accept that gays and lesbians have the same rights as anyone else in America, including marriage rights, as decided by the Supreme Court of the Unites States.

This is a human rights crisis of massive proportions, and the religious fanatics and Republicans cannot be allowed to triumph, as this would be a crime on the scale of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust against gays and lesbians, often forgotten!

Hillary Clinton Campaigning As A “Progressive”, Against Husband Bill Clinton’s “Moderate” Presidency!

Hillary Clinton is campaigning as a “progressive”, but her husband, while in office as the 42nd President, was far from progressive!

Many would say that Bill Clinton (1993-2001) was a “raging moderate” in so many ways.

Despite being attacked by Republicans incessantly, and being impeached by them as well, Bill Clinton actually cooperated with them on many issues, and was also often quite critical of liberals in his own party.

Witness:

He signed into law the end of the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1995.

He signed into law the end of the federal guarantee of welfare in 1996, leaving it to the states to decide levels of support of single mothers and children, and the elderly and disabled.

He signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, which was a big step back from the idea of gay equality.  Earlier in 1994, he had promoted “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military, backing away from equality for gays.

He signed the Omnibus Crime legislation in 1994, which was a major crackdown on crime, and that allowed the arrest and incarceration of many young people, many of them African American and Latino, on minor drug charges, filling up America’s prisons.

He signed NAFTA into law in 1993, which undermined labor, and caused an influx of foreign goods, due to the low tariffs, now opposed by his wife.

He signed into law a repeal of much of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1998,  which led to bank expansion of loans and mortgages, and much larger banks that helped to lead to the Great Recession of 2008-2009.

He called himself a “New Democrat” in 1992, criticized liberalism often, and was involved in the centrist Democratic Leadership Council group.

This does not mean that Bill Clinton did not have some really positive aspects domestically to his Presidency, but he was certainly considered by many to be a “Republicrat”, rather than a Democrat.

He, along with Jimmy Carter, were the least progressive Democratic Presidents, when compared to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson, and also Barack Obama, after Carter and Clinton.

This might be because Carter and Clinton were Southern Democrats, but the point is that Bill Clinton, while good on some issues, was not a progressive, as his wife now is campaigning on against Bernie Sanders!

Does it mean that Hillary Clinton cannot have “learned” from the mistakes  of the 1990s, honestly?  NO, but the point is she is very different as a campaigner than her husband was!

Of course, when one thinks about it, Hillary is running for the Presidency a full generation after her husband won his second and last term, the last time he was facing the voters!

 

Inauguration Day Plus Seven Years: Imagine The Alternative Of President John McCain And Vice President Sarah Palin!

Seven years ago, Barack Obama became the 44th President, and history was transformed in a positive manner!

Not everything has worked out, and not everything he promised has occurred, but when one thinks about the alternative of President John McCain and Vice President Sarah Palin, one must thank God that he gave us Barack Obama!

McCain, even though he is less extreme than most Republicans, would most certainly have taken us into war more than we were under George W. Bush.

We would have massive involvement still in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and would have engaged in a major war against Iran.

Much of the social change that has occurred would not have had Presidential backing, including gay rights and gay marriage; climate change; criminal justice reform; attention to civil rights controversies; and a national health care system for more Americans.  We also would not have Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court!

We would have had Sarah Palin as Vice President, and have to be constantly thankful that John McCain is still alive and healthy.

 

Bernie Sanders And The Younger Voter: A Special Connection!

One of the most interesting developments of the 2016 Presidential campaign is the appeal of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont among younger voters, specifically under the age of 45.

This means those born after 1970 and up to 1998, the age group which has no issue with gay rights and gay marriage; abortion rights for women; legalization of marijuana; supportive of immigration reform; and belief in the need to deal with climate change.

This group is the future of America, and it is a progressive group overwhelmingly by any measurement!

So in the midst of Republican Donald Trump publicity, Bernie Sanders’ s supporters, who Hillary Clinton desperately needs  if she ends up as the Democratic nominee for President, which is still most likely, any attempt by Clinton to trash Bernie will backfire on her candidacy in November.

It is possible that if Hillary wins but leaves “bad blood” with Bernie, that these younger voters, including first time voters, might just sit out the campaign in disgust!

Will the younger voters allow the older, less educated, and much  more white composition voters who support Trump carry the day?

This will be a crucial issue in the Fall campaign, how to keep the younger voters Democratic, rather than have them sit out the election, and possibly give the “Archie Bunker” candidate the opportunity to do his destructive deeds in the Oval Office!

Obama’s Last “State Of The Union”: A Moment To Reflect On The Past Seven Years Of Accomplishment, And Set Future Goals!

Barack Obama gave a dazzling State of the Union address last night, showing flashes of the original Barack Obama at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, when he first came to public notice.

The President used this last major speech of his administration to set the record straight on what had been accomplished, and what he saw as his goals for the long term future of the nation.

Obama made clear that he will dedicate his post Presidency to a war on cancer; a seeking of criminal justice reforms; a promotion of the climate change agenda; and continuing to promote the struggle against international terrorism.

As we look back seven years, despite all of the bitter recriminations visited against the 44th President, we have to marvel at what he has accomplished:

A massive revival of the American economy, including halving the unemployment rate, more than doubling the stock market, and rescue of the auto industry. after the tragedy of the Great Recession.

A major social change on the issue of gay rights and gay marriage, the new human rights initiative of the 21st century.

A path breaking law, ObamaCare, which will have a long range effect, after fine tuning, as Social Security and Medicare  in earlier generations, so Obama is carrying on and adding to the legacy of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson.

The pursuit of diplomacy over engaging in more warfare, although using modern methods including drones, to pursue terrorism, and having major, unsung success, without committing our young men and women to the battlefield as cannon fodder!

The promotion of civil rights and equality on a level long overdue, to continue the legacy of Lyndon B. Johnson.

Barack Obama proved once again how compassionate and sincere a human being that he really is, a trait which will play well in history, and the odds of his Presidency being ranked as one of the more significant and transformative  in our history have greatly increased, as he nears the end of his time in the Oval Office!